January 16, 2024
Almost everyone in the world knows The Beatles for their rock music, but very few know that the musicians dabbled in painting. Or, at least they did on one occasion while staying at a hotel in Japan, reports My Modern Met.
In 1966, while The Beatles were scheduled for five shows over the course of three days at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan arena, they were unable to spend much time outside of their suite at the Tokyo Hilton. After a fan brought art supplies during a visit, the four rockstars spent that solitary time making a painting together, which was later titled “Images of a Woman” by a Japanese journalist.
All four members of the band—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr—were assigned a quadrant of the canvas and they painted it independently. Each artist used an abstract style, but their unique aesthetic and perspective still shines through. Starr’s portion in the bottom lefthand corner, for instance, features a bright array of hues and defined abstract shapes, whereas Harrison’s contribution on the bottom right has a gritty mix of dark shades. In the center of the painting is a blank unfinished circle in which each Beatle signed his name by his own section.
While the Beatles sat down to work on the painting, they were photographed by Robert Whitaker. “They’d stop [painting], go and do a concert, then it was, ‘Let’s go back to the picture!’ ” says Whitaker. “I never saw them calmer or more contented than at this time.”
This piece holds extra significance as it was made in the months before the end of their last major tour. “It’s such a rarity to have a work on paper outside of their music catalog that is [a] physical relic, this tangible object with contributions from all four of The Beatles,” Christie’s’ International Specialist Casey Rogers comments. “It’s memorabilia, it’s a work of art, it appeals to probably a much larger cross-section of collectors … It’s a wonderful piece of storytelling.”
“Images of a Woman” will go up for auction at Christie’s in February, and is estimated to fetch between $400,000 and $600,000.
Research contact: @mymodernmet